sex as a foreign language

awkward aural adventures

Maths Class – Brighton Interview July 2008

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“I don’t know how the hell he found that out! Someone’s talking and he’s not telling, even when we got off air. He’s not telling.” These are the slightly alarmed remarks of Tim Sketchley, vocalist of ascendent stars Maths Class, recounting the bands recent experiences recording a live set for BBC 6’s enigmatic Marc Riley. The Big British Castles ex Fall man bamboozled the band by recounting tales from their murky past involving a spot of gonzo golf from atop Brighton train station. That even some of the newer members amongst their ranks were not privy to these events shows the reach of Rileys inquisition! Attracting the Columbo like attentions of such premier taste makers is something Maths Class are going to have to get used to mind, as their angular, post punk repertoire and bacchanalian live shows are sweeping through the playlists indie prospectors, in short; they’re gonna be big.

Completed by Piers Cowburn (Synth/vox), Andy Davies (Guitar/vox), Aleksander Damms (Bass) and Michael Gartside (Drums) Maths Class laid down a marker with the double A side bombast of ‘Emporio Laser/ Cushion Glamour’ in November of 2007, following that up this summer with the ‘Now This Will Take Two Hands’ Ep they are proving that their progress is swift and emphatic. Tracks like ‘Branches’, ‘Jonny Got The Jawline’ and the contagious ‘Nerves’ show a band pulling in a hundred directions at once but sounding all the tighter for it. Tim muses that this could be down to the collaborative nature of their writing process, “we all chip in with the vocals, so a song like ‘Nerves’ would be made up of an intro by me, then Piers added the first verse, I did the second verse and we kind of leapfrog like that. It’s the same musically, so it’s kind of they’ll write a bit and I’ll write a bit and then when it comes to practice, I used to play the drums so I can get quite involved with the drums, but we’ll piece it together. A lot of the process is actually taking away bits from the songs, editing down because we write too much. We want to write to jump around with these songs not to be hunched over our instruments focusing on every note. We love playing this music but sometimes you realise that no-one is going to want to listen to this or buy it. So we edit it down, we always write for the song, I think that’s how we differ from a band like Battles”. The band are also experimenting, driving forward to their ultimate goal of recording a defining album and creating a body of work. “There’s another Ep in November we hope and that’s the next step towards making an album. We’re very much gearing towards writing for an album, when we get there we want it to be perfect, 100% ready and we’ll pick 10 songs out of 20 and be able to say these are the best that represent us as a band at this time. The guitarist (Andy)… wants to write an album that we’ll be able to look back on in 20 years time, that will stand up.”

We need Maths Class, because we need to dance, we need a band to make this music fun again, to give the staccato riffs, rhythmic u-turns and cut up time signatures heart, to make us want to scream blue murder and dance on tables We need them to destroy that repugnant math rock tag, to bludgeon it into the ether with the weight of its own hyperbole . Isn’t this emo all over again, trying to separate the Rival Schools from the MyChemical bynumbers? Maths Class make music for the heart and music for the feet. I’ve got about as much chance of quitting ‘Now This Will Take Two Hands’ as Ennis Del Mar had of quitting anything. There’s influences galore pouring out of the speakers like a wine giving up its secrets to an enquiring nose. They mix elements of bands like The Robot VS, Art Brut, Pavement and, 24 seconds into ‘Nerves’, they kick it up a level, managing to give me the same free-fall exhilaration on record I got shoehorned into a london sweatbox to see The Blood Brothers way back when.

So to the future. The tail end of 2008 is going to be a period of giant strides for Maths Class, in late August they will be supporting mercurial tunesmith Stephen Malkmus across the country, as well as heading into the studio to lay down the tracks for that November Ep. Following that September sees the band undertaking a 6 date mini tour of the land of the rising sun. “We got offered this tour of Japan by this record label 1977 who also offered to put out the Ep over there”, notes Tim, “it’s a 6 date tour and we’re playing this chain of clothes shops. It’s going to be awesome. Actually we have a group of Japanese fans who already come to the UK shows.” Then when they return they’ll be more shows, “like a proper band”, more songs and more videos, a prospect that the band will clearly relish as Tim enthuses that producing the inspired clip for ‘Nerves’ was “the best experience. It was done by some friends of friends on such a small budget. They came to us with about 10 different ideas and we sat down together and went through and decided which would be appropriate for us. It worked out amazingly. 120 minutes was on at Piers brothers house and it was the first track that came on. That was such a cool experience as we I used to watch 120 minutes everyday after school when I was 16.” Before departing Tim notes there are rumblings also of their EP making its way onto desks at the Aussie tastemakers JJJ, that everyone should be check out Brighton bands Elle Milano and Heels Catch Fire and that no Maths Class party is ever complete without Cherry Lambrini. Japan, you have been warned!


Written by Jonathan

August 18, 2008 at 10:51 am

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